Recently I continued my work alongside associate artist Julia Claridge who had gathered various fabric samples for us to work with to see how they would take to the cyanotype process. These ranged from very thin, almost transparent cottons to thick heavier weight fabrics. Julia had already had ideas about which might work best and had pre cut some samples for us too set to work on. This time round I brought a hairdryer with me too in order to speed up the drying process.
Working with the fabric is a far different beast when it comes to applying the chemicals. As you would expect it soaks into the fabric far more quickly than paper and will hold a larger volume of liquid too so the drying time increases.
We set to work coating the different samples and laid out some very basic compositions using a range of found objects, Julia’s daughter even got in on the act as she was in the last few days of her summer holidays!
We found that certain fabrics did indeed work better than others and some of those that didn’t produce good results were quite surprising. Julia had assumed and quite rightly, that the heavier the weight of the fabric the better the chemical would hold and produce a more pleasing blue in the print. Though in the case of the faux suede this didn’t ring true and the reason was down to the percentage of cotton in the fabric. In the end the better results were to be found on the heavier fabrics with the highest percentage of cotton in this case a cotton voile and also basic dressmaking calico that we used in previous experiments.
Whether or not a fabric piece makes it’s way successfully to a final piece in my own project work remains to be seen. Fabric is a little more difficult to work with than paper and takes far longer to properly dry, drawing out the process. The ideas I’d had of multi layering different circular patterns on large pieces of fabric would also increase the amount of variables that could potentially go wrong. Bearing this in mind, to start with I’ll create much smaller pieces before scaling up for a larger work using the fabric I eventually purchased from Julia.